Plant-based eating is having a moment in the Twin Cities, as new vegan and veggie-first concepts take root in the post-pandemic dining scene.
What's happening: A slew of openings highlight what The Herbivorous Butcher co-founder Kale Walch is calling a "golden age" for plant-based dining.
- Walch's new spot, Herbie Butcher’s Fried Chicken, will put a vegan spin on one of the metro's most popular dishes this spring.
- Salad chain Crisp & Green is piloting Stalk & Spade, a fast-casual plant-based burger shop, in Wayzata next month.
- The ten-course tasting menu at Sooki & Mimi, a new fine dining spot from Chef Ann Kim, is built entirely around vegetables and masa.
The big picture: Local restaurants (and diners) aren't the only ones showing an appetite for more plants. By one estimate, the plant-based food market will grow to $74 billion industry by 2027.
- Applebees, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts are among the national chains offering meat alternatives on the menu. McDonald's is testing a veg-based burger of its own.
- Retail sales of plant-based products are also on the rise.
Driving the trend: Development of new meat alternatives — think the Impossible Burger — and growing customer demand have helped bring this formerly niche market into the mainstream. And it's no longer just strict vegans placing the orders.
- "The products out there got so good that people started to prefer it," Walch told Axios. "I've got a lot of friends who are foodies and sometimes it's fun to try something new."
The bottom line: Plenty of omnivorous menus across the Twin Cities are also offering vegan options these days. The Howe and Pizza Luce are two that come to mind.
This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.
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